QuarkNet teacher presents at the 2013 Live Interactive Planetarium Symposium

Author: reprint

La Lumiere physics teacher, Ken Andert, traveled to Sanford, Fla. at the request of the University of Notre Dame to attend the 2013 Live Interactive Planetarium Symposium at Seminole State College.

The purpose of this symposium was to provide planetarium staff from around the world an opportunity to share with each other what they had developed for their respective facilities.

Andert, along with Dr. Keith Davis of the University of Notre Dame, gave a presentation titled, The Large Hadron Collider’s Data Rendered Live – Bringing Particle Physics to the Dome.

As the title indicates, this was an opportunity for Andert and Davis to demonstrate their now fully functional model of the various detectors in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, complete with 3D models of actual event data taken from one particular detector, the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS for short).

The model permits the audience to “see” what the machine sees, and is a great tool for explaining how physicists can use that information to work backward and determine what subatomic particles must have given rise to that particular data pattern.

“Working with Notre Dame’s physics department has given me the opportunity to have a direct role in some of the largest and most current physics investigations in the world,” said Andert, “and I am thankful to be able to bring that knowledge and experience back to the classroom with me each year. It’s a rare opportunity for a high school teacher to be able to work on projects of this caliber, and I feel that it helps me explain the thought processes and procedures of modern science to my physics students at La Lumiere, who may well become the next generation of researchers.”

As a result of Ken Andert’s 14 year association with the University of Notre Dame, several La Lumiere students have been given the opportunity to intern as summer research assistants at the university’s QuarkNet program over the past decade.

QuarkNet is a long-term, research-based teacher professional development program in the United States jointly funded by the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Energy.

(This story appeared in the 9/10/13 issue of the La Porte Herald-Argus newspaper.)